target manufacturer's representative

Necessity of Manufacturers Reps

What does outsourced mean when it comes to a manufacturers’ representative?

We mentioned in a previous post that the internet has opened a few doors to help manufacturers more easily communicate directly with customers. As the internet continues to grow in use and everyone comes for a piece of the pie, even newer tools will be available, but will they stand the test of time?

In an age of fast tech, social media, easy communication, it makes sense that new tools would become available. And some of these tools are giving difficulties to rep firms– not because these services are somehow able to offer even a fraction of the benefit of rep firms– but simply due to the extra explanation about what exactly “outsourced sales” means when it comes to manufacturer representatives vs newer options for “outsourced sales.”

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Manufacturer Reps Think in the Long Term

A well-planned strategy is beneficial to all parties in the long run.

In an old but pertinent article by Jerry Leth, he writes about the importance of having a solid agreement in place. This article mainly applies to manufacturer representatives, but it goes both ways.


[Some manufacturers] want a really simple agreement, a one pager. When you initiate the relationship with the other person, there may be a very high level of trust between the two of you. What happens when that other person leaves the firm and is replaced by someone with vastly different ideas and attitudes about manufacturers’ reps? What if they decide to terminate the agreement? What if in the meantime, you have built up a significant level of business for this principal? How you worded the agreement way back when will have a significant impact on your residual compensation. Will that simple one pager really adequately cover all the bases?


Solid planning in advance of any long-term relationship is necessary. Read the full article here. 

target manufacturer's representative

Relationships are the Cornerstone of Manufacturer Representation

A successful independent representative is resourceful, flexible, agile and resilient. Trends in each respective field or category are constantly changing and salespeople need the ability to react to those changes. This ability applies not only to manufacturers and customers like Target, but within the manufacturer rep firm itself.

The Internet, in its capacity to facilitate communication, has created a few tools that make it easier for vendors and customers to interact. However, sales staff from a qualified rep firm will foster relationships and offer category insight and experience far beyond what’s available on a computer or online. Human relationships are still worth gold in this field.

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Manufacturer Reps Invest in the Customer

A recent article by John Tschohl talks about customer loyalty. This not only applies to manufacturer representatives that have a large territory with many customers, but also to firms that cater to a select few corporate partners.


Everyone says the customer is important; only a few savvy companies invest the time, effort and financial resources to do what needs to be done to build a more loyal customer base. Executing a loyalty strategy takes a true understanding of what it takes to create the kinds of experiences the customer will come back for, and tell their friends about.


No matter the size or number of customers, great manufacturer representatives create loyalty in their customers.

Manufacturer Representatives Will Listen to Marketing Teams During Product Launch

Curated Post by Jack Foster at Agency Sales Magazine

It’s true that manufacturer representatives will do lots of research and planning, and think they know the best way to sell a new product. But reps also listen to marketing and production teams before forming a complete strategy.


Since they’re the ones on the receiving end of manufacturers’ new product launch efforts, independent representatives are more aware than anyone that there’s a right way and a wrong way to get the job done.

Speaking to that subject, Bob Cangemi, Straight Up Consulting, Washington, New Jersey, maintains that the mistake too many manufacturers make when introducing new products is that they push a new product because they’ve made the decision ahead of time that customers need it. “What should be done,” he stresses, “is to have the company marketing department lead the sales department…”


Read the full article here.

target manufacturer's representative

Advocacy and Continuous Improvement

The Way of Great Manufacturer Representatives

Manufacturer representative firms like Three Sixty Sales offer real value to their partners. They are advocates for manufacturers and customers alike. Living near and working directly with the customer means they are highly focused on customer satisfaction while simultaneously representing the manufacturer’s message.

The unique perspective these relationships give rep firms means they understand the customer’s needs as well as the capabilities and limitations of each factory or vendor they represent. Their knowledge and objective perspective becomes even more important when a customer’s needs differ or diverge from the factory’s standard procedures. There are many things a customer could ask for such as a product modification or an expedited delivery. In such cases, the rep firm can and will work for the customer to help get the changes made to the product or process. But similarly, when the customer’s request cannot be met by the manufacturer, the independent sales rep will relay information to the customer and work with both parties to look for other solutions.

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Manufacturer Representatives Invest in Selling

Why Every Sales Meeting is an Investment that Benefits Everyone

For a manufacturer representative, making sales involves so much more. It really is about benefiting the most people at any time to make and maintain positive relationships.


…Most successful [sales reps] don’t spend any time selling, they invest time selling.

When I make that distinction, I’m not trying to be cute. I am absolutely deadly serious. What happens if representatives who spend time selling make a sale? Once that sale is made and the commission is received, the representatives are right back where they started, with nothing more to show for their efforts than a single commission payment.

When representatives invest their time selling one of their principal’s lines, they look at a much bigger picture than just the commission on a single sale, things like these:

▪ How will this sale build our relationship with this principal?

▪ How will this sale enhance our relationship with this customer?

▪ How will our strategy for this principal and this customer affect the other principals on our line card and other customers in our territory?


Read the full article by Charles Cohon here.

target manufacturer's representative

The Economics of a Manufacturer Representatives

Manufacturers may be driven to use manufacturer rep firms by basic economics. The demonstrated success of going to market this way vs. traditional in-house sales keeps 50-80% of all manufacturers using rep firms in at least some of their territories, if not all of their market segments. One reason for this is that the cost associated with outsourcing the sales function to rep firms are covered simply by commissions on direct sales those representatives are generating.

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Manufacturer Representatives Planning for a Product Launch

A Curated Article by Greg Bruno

Greg Bruno writes about the importance of not getting caught up in the excitement of a new product launch, and the importance of manufacturer representatives doing their research.


A principal’s new product launch can be exciting, time-consuming and expensive for both a principal and a representative.

Ultimately, everyone involved wants the launch to be successful and profitable. Getting to these goals takes planning and careful execution. The additional potential for new business that a new product launch offers the sales representative can be exciting, but success with it requires preparation, training, market research and information. I believe that these four things are at the root of what a representative wants and needs to succeed.


Read the full article here.

Manufacturer Representative Agreements

Lema Khorshid writes about the agreements between manufacturers and representatives. While these agreements tend to be mutually beneficial, it’s important a well-written contract is in place.


Companies seeking a way to streamline their sales process and create time to focus on their product lines may find that sales representatives are an efficient and effective way to drive sales, perhaps by tapping into existing networks of prospective buyers or by allowing the company to reallocate its human resources to more pressing internal needs.

Since the sales representative agreement often ties the representative’s compensation to his work production through a commission structure, the incentives for both manufacturer and representative align. A well-drafted contract between the manufacturer and the representative can ensure a fair, mutually beneficial relationship.


Read more here.

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